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HQ 952500

October 16, 1992

CLA-2 CO:R:C:M 952500 DWS


TARIFF NO.: 8501.10.40

Mr. George A. Beauchemin
Portescap U.S., Inc.
42217 Rio Nedo
Suite A 202
Temecula, CA 92590

RE: DC Motor, Gearbox, and Encoder Assembly; Explanatory Note 85.01(I)(A); HQ 950834; 8543.80.90

Dear Mr. Beauchemin:

This is in response to your letter of August 25, 1992, concerning the classification of a DC motor, gearbox, and encoder assembly under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS).


The merchandise consists of a DC motor, gearbox, and encoder assembly. The assembly is part of a medical infusion pump which infuses drugs into a patient. It has a DC motor whose speed is reduced and torque amplified by the gearbox. The optical encoder provides angular velocity and displacement information. In certain cases it can also determine when the pump is backdriven. Special features allow the encoder to be pulsed, reducing the amount of current needed to drive the motor.


What is the proper classification of the subject assembly under the HTSUS?


Classification of merchandise under the HTSUS is in accordance with the General Rules of Interpretation (GRI's), taken in order. GRI 1 provides that classification is determined according to the terms of the headings and any relative section or chapter notes.

Heading 8501, HTSUS, provides for: "[e]lectric motors and generators (excluding generator sets)." In understanding the language of the HTSUS, the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System Explanatory Notes may be utilized. The Explanatory Notes, although not dispositive, are to be used to determine the proper interpretation of the HTSUS. 54 Fed. Reg. 35127, 35128 (August 23, 1989). In part, Explanatory Note 85.01(I)(A) (p. 1334), HTSUS, states that:

[m]otors remain classified here even when they are equipped with pulleys, with gears or gear boxes, or with a flexible shaft for operating hand tools. The heading includes "outboard motors" for the propulsion of boats, in the form of a unit comprising an electric motor, shaft, propeller and a rudder.

Consequently, under Explanatory Note 85.01(I)(A), HTSUS, the DC motor imported with the gearbox would be classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS. The question is whether the addition of the optical encoder changes that classification.

In HQ 950834, dated March 6, 1992, it was stated that:

[t]he Explanatory Notes and the rulings interpreting heading 8501, HTSUS, make it clear that electric motors equipped with additional components, remain classifiable in this heading, even if those other components are "quite substantial". However, it is equally clear that heading 8501, HTSUS, does not encompass every assembly which includes an electric motor. When confronted with an assembly incorporating a motor which includes additional components other than those listed in Explanatory Note 85.01, HTSUS, the rulings described above provide the following guidelines--an electric motor is classifiable under heading 8501, HTSUS, even when imported with additional components (other than those listed in Explanatory Note 85.01) if:

(1) those additional components complement the function of the motor [HQ 083955];

(2) those additional components are devices which motors are commonly equipped [HQ 087909];

(3) those additional components serve merely to transmit the power the motors produce [HQ 950557].

It is our understanding that the function of the optical encoder is to provide angular velocity and displacement information. In this respect, the encoder complements the function of the motor. Therefore, by the reasoning provided in HQ 950834, the subject assembly is classifiable under heading 8501.10.40, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectric motors and generators (excluding generating sets): [m]otors of an output not exceeding 37.5 W: [o]f under 18.65 W: [o]ther."

It has been suggested that the assembly is classifiable under subheading 8543.80.90, HTSUS, which provides for: "[e]lectrical machines and apparatus, having individual functions, not specified or included elsewhere in this chapter; parts thereof: [o]ther machines and apparatus: [o]ther." Because the assembly is provided for under heading 8501, HTSUS, it is precluded from classification under heading 8543, HTSUS.


The subject assembly is classifiable under subheading 8501.10.40, HTSUS. The general, column one rate of duty is 6.6 percent ad valorem.


John Durant, Director
Commercial Rulings Division?

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